My daughter experienced another milestone last week on what I hope will be the path to becoming a life-long reader. She made her first book purchases, with her own money. She's made selections using a gift card before, but she recently chose to spend all of her hard-saved paper dollars on items from the Scholastic Reading Club flyer.
Some background is in order. On her recent fifth birthday, we started giving my daughter an allowance. We want her to start to understand what things cost. She allocates this allowance to plastic storage boxes labeled "SAVE", "SPEND", and "DONATE". [And idea from a book called The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber.] She's also been collecting loose change from around the house, and occasionally doing extra little jobs. She had accumulated $14 in bills, across the three bins.
Then the Scholastic Reading Club flyer arrived. Actually, there were four flyers, for some reason. Before I could get to them, she went through them on her own, and circled the items that she was interested in. Let's just say that there were MANY. When she started showing these to me, I immediately protested that she was asking for too much.
So she ran up to her little storage bins, and came back with a handful of crumpled one dollar bills. She then without hesitation zoomed in on the two things that she most wanted: an amusement park math game ($8) and a collection of Disney movie-themed early readers ($10). She happily handed over her entire pile of cash as a contribution to the cause. After I explained that we had to replace the $4 from the "donate" bin (this is all still a new concept), I told her that I would put her remaining $10 towards this month's Reading Club purchase, and subsidize the rest of the order myself. I was awarded big hugs for this.
I suppose a better lesson would be to have her only get the $10 set of early readers this month. But a) I was pleased that she wanted to spend her money on books (well, and an educational game) rather than toys; and b) I'm a sucker for buying books myself. So I went ahead and ordered some of the items that she had requested (including her two highest priorities), and I put the 10 crumpled dollar bills into my pocket.
Incidentally my selection of which items to buy did entail some degree of censorship. I dropped the My Little Pony Winning Style Set with barrettes and tattoos, for example, as well as anything else that had non-book stuff included. But I do try to respect the things she likes, so our eventual list did include a Sponge Bob book and a book from an early reader series that I hadn't seen before called Critter Club. I also added a book by Bethanie Murguia called I Feel Five! that looked fun.
May this be the beginning of a lifetime of prioritizing the buying of books! Perhaps one day her own home will look like mine does, with piles of books everywhere.